THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
Measurements > Atmosphere >
Aerosols >
Aerosol optical depth (column/profile)


Measurement Definition*: The aerosol optical depth or optical thickness (τ) is defined as the integrated extinction coefficient over a vertical column of unit cross section.
InstrumentStatus/
Accuracy
Instrument DescriptionMeasurement TechnologyTimeline
ABI
Advanced Baseline Imager
Operational
Detects clouds, cloud properties, water vapour, land and sea surface temperatures, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, total ozone, snow and ice cover, vegetation index.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
Advanced MI
Advanced Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AHI
Advanced Himawari Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, cloud motion, cloud height, cloud properties, water vapour, rainfalll, sea surface temperatures and Earth radiation, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, snow and ice cover.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AVHRR/3
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer/3
Operational
Measurements of land and sea surface temperature, cloud cover, snow and ice cover, soil moisture and vegetation indices. Data also used for volcanic eruption monitoring.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
CALIOP
Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization
Operational
Two-wavelength, polarisation lidar capable of providing aerosol and cloud profiles and properties.Atmospheric lidar
CAPI
Cloud and Aerosol Polarization Imager
Operational
+/-10 %
Measures aerosol and cloudMulti-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
EPIC
Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera
Operational
+/-1 %
Diurnal measurements of ozone, UV surface radiation, clouds and aerosols.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
GOME-2
Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment - 2
Operational
Measurement of total column amounts and stratospheric and tropospheric profiles of ozone. Also amounts of H20, NO2, OClO, BrO, SO2 and HCHO.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
MI
Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MISR
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
Operational
Measurements of global surface albedo, aerosol and vegetation properties. Also provides multi-angle bidirectional data (1% angle-to-angle accuracy) for cloud cover and reflectances at the surface and aerosol opacities. Global and local modes.Multi-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
MODIS
MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
Operational
Data on biological and physical processes on the surface of the Earth and in the lower atmosphere, and on global dynamics. Surface temperatures of land and ocean, chlorophyll fluorescence, land cover measurements, cloud cover (day and night).n/a
MSU-MR
Low-resolution multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
OCM (Oceansat-2)
Ocean Colour Monitor (Oceansat-2)
Operational
Ocean colour data, Estimation of phytoplankton concentration, identification of potential fishing zones, assessment of primary productivity.n/a
OLCI
Ocean and Land Colour Imager
Operational
Marine and land services.n/a
OMI
Ozone Measuring Instrument
Operational
Mapping of ozone columns, key air quality components (NO2, SO2, BrO, OClO and aerosols), measurements of cloud pressure and coverage, global distribution and trends in UV-B radiation.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
OMPS
Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite
Operational
Measures total amount of ozone in the atmosphere and the ozone concentration variation with altitude.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
SGLI
Second-generation Global Imager
Operational
+/-0.15
Medium resolution multi-spectral imaging of land, ocean and atmosphere. SGLI-VNR is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from near-UV to NIR and forward or backward polarization observation at red and near infrared wavelengths (Push-broom scanning). SGLI-IRS is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from SWIR to TIR wavelengths (Cross-track scanning).n/a
TANSO-CAI
Thermal And Near infrared Sensor for carbon Observation - Cloud and Aerosol Imager
Operational
Detection and correction of cloud and aerosol for TANSO-FTS.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
TANSO-CAI-2
Thermal And Near infrared Sensor for carbon Observation - Cloud and Aerosol Imager-2
Operational
Detection and correction of cloud and aerosol for TANSO-FTS, aerosol characteristicsMulti-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
VIIRS
Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite
Operational
Global observations of land, ocean, and atmosphere parameters: cloud/weather imagery, sea-surface temperature, ocean colour, land surface vegetation indices.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
3MI
Multi-Viewing Multi-Channel Multi-Polarisation Imaging
Being developed
Measure aerosol parameters, air quality index, surface albedo, cloud informationMulti-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
Advanced GOCI
Advanced Geostationary Ocean Colour Imager
Being developed
Ocean colour information, coastal zone monitoring, land resources monitoring.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
GNSS POD Receiver
GNSS POD Receiver
Being developed
 n/a
MAIA
Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols
Being developed
+/-0.05
A pair of pushbroom spectropolarimetric cameras on a 2-axis gimbal for multiangle viewing, frequent revisits over targets, and inflight calibration. Major metropolitan areas are sampled with sub-km spatial resolution to study impacts of different types of particulate matter on human health.Multi-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
UVNS (Sentinel-5)
Ultra-violet Visible Near-infrared Shortwave-infrared spectrometer
Being developed
Supporting atmospheric composition and air quality monitoring services. Measurements of atmospheric trace gases, primarily O3, NO2, SO2, HCHO, CH4 and CO.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
ATLID
ATmospheric LIDar
Approved
Derivation of cloud and aerosol properties - Measurement of molecular and particle backscatter in Rayleigh, co-polar and cross-polar Mie channels.Atmospheric lidar
UVN
UV-VIS-NIR Sounder
Approved
Measurements of atmospheric trace gases, mainly O3, NO2, SO2, H2CO. The product list is not yet approved, the accuracy summary column lists the breakthrough user requirements.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
Advanced MSU-MR
Advanced Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Proposed
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
Microwave limb sounder (GACM)
Microwave limb sounder (GACM)
Proposed
Limb-viewing measurements of O3, N2O, temperature, water vapour, CO, HNO3, ClO, and volcanic SO2 in the.n/a
Next Gen APS (ACE)
Next Gen APS (ACE)
Proposed
Polarimeter for measuring aerosol optical properties and aerosol types.Multi-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
Polarimeter (PACE)
Polarimeter (PACE)
Proposed
Polarimeter for measuring aerosol optical properties and aerosol types.Multi-channel/direction/polarisation radiometer
UV Spectrometer (GACM)
UV Spectrometer (GACM)
Proposed
Daytime measurements of O3, NO2, SO2, CH2O, and aerosols.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
UV/Vis Near IR Wide Imaging Spectrometer (Geo-Cape)
UV/Vis Near IR Wide Imaging Spectrometer (Geo-Cape)
Proposed
Measures natural and human-produced gases and aerosols in the atmosphere, including those that react in sunlight to form polluting low-level ozone.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
UVN (Sentinel-4)
UV-visible- near infrared imaging spectrometer (Sentinel-4)
Proposed
Supporting atmospheric composition and air quality monitoring services.High-resolution nadir-scanning SW spectrometer
HiRDLS
High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder
No longer operational
Measures atmospheric temperature, concentrations of ozone, water vapour, methane, NOx, N2O, CFCs and other minor species, aerosol concentration, location of polar stratospheric clouds and cloud tops. Currently not collecting data on Aqua.n/a
* Description adapted from WMO.
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